Living and learning in Paris, the City of Lights, a Vermont college U.S. Army ROTC cadet found a home away from home in Kaiserslautern with the U.S. Army Reserve 7th Civil Support Command.
Alexander Nishida says the biggest challenge facing his overseas college education isn’t money, it’s finding a place to conduct a weekend battle assembly with the Army Reserve.
With hundreds of Army Reserve units spread across the United States, it is usually easy to find one to train with while attending college. But overseas, it is a different story.
“You can’t just go anywhere and pull drill,” said Mr. Nishida, a Chicago native, who is studying in the Cultural Experiences Abroad program in Paris for a semester.
CEA provides college study abroad programs to U.S. and Canadian students in 15 countries and 28 cities around the world, immersing students in a different culture and building international relations.
Mr. Nishida enlisted in the Army Reserve in his senior year of high school and went through Military Police One Station Unit Training in 2007. He then enrolled at Champlain College in Burlington, Vt., and joined the ROTC Simultaneous Membership Program offered at the University of Vermont.
Mr. Nishida is assigned to Bravo Company, 1st Battalion/391st Regiment, 4th Brigade, 98th Division (IT), 108th Training Command, from Colchester, Vt. He travels to Germany to conduct his battle assembly with the 7th CSC, the U.S. Army’s only Reserve command on foreign soil.
Reserve Soldiers can conduct training with another unit by rescheduling training to meet the requirements of the Army Reserve and maintaining a satisfactory status with their assigned unit.Mr. Nishida said attending 7th CSC battle assemblies gives him academic and military experience while studying abroad.
“I wanted to further understand how the Army and the Army Reserve operate in Germany and Italy,” he said. “I feel that experience on a military installation overseas will give me a larger range of experiences to draw from in my career, as a cadet and then in my first years as a junior officer.”
Another Soldier can relate to Mr. Nishida’s story.
Staff Sgt. Brett McMillan of the 200th Military Police Command at Fort Meade, Md., who studies in Holland, said he had just re-enlisted two months before pursuing a master’s degree while living in Amsterdam for 11 months.
“I was very glad when my command agreed to let me reschedule training with another Army unit. I used to drive 18 miles to my battle assembly, now it’s 500 kilometers to Kaiserslautern,” he said. “But it beats flying home every month for battle assembly weekends.”